Advances in perinatal care in the 1990s resulted in dramatic increases in the survival of extremely low-birth-weight (ELBW, less than 1000 grams [2.2 lbs.]) infants, according to background information in the article. There is little information on how these children function at school age when neurological, cognitive, and health status has to a large extent stabilized. Information on the overall functioning and special health care needs of recent surviving ELBW children is needed to plan for the medical and educational services that they will require at school age.
Maureen Hack, M.B., Ch.B., of Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, and colleagues conducted a comprehensive examination of health outcomes at age 8 years in a group of ELBW infants born 1992 through 1995.
Outcomes included functional limitations and special health care needs together with the more traditional measures of neurological and developmental status. The study included 219 ELBW children and 176 normal-birth-weight (NBW) controls of similar sociodemographic status. The children were examined and parents completed a questionnaire concerning their child.
The researchers found that after adjusting for sociodemographic status and sex, ELBW children had significantly more chronic conditions than NBW controls, including functional limitations (64 percent vs. 20 percent), compensatory dependency needs (48 percent vs. 23 percent), and services above those routinely required by children (65 percent vs. 27 percent). These differences remained significant when the 36 ELBW children with neurosensory impairments were excluded. Specific diagnoses and disabilities for ELBW vs. NBW children included cere
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